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Visit Yosemite National Park Any Time of the Year to Camp near Great California Campgrounds

Upper Yosemite Falls
Photo Credit: Kenny Karst/ DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc.Yosemite National Park is a vast and beautiful place with so much to see and so much to do that it would be easy to spend weeks here. Seasons vary as much as the land itself, and depending on which season you go, there are different activities, sites to see and advantages for each one. Hiking, backpacking, fishing, horseback riding, water rafting, bird watching, skiing, and rock climbing are just a few of the things you can do in Yosemite National Park.

To locate Woodall’s approved California campgrounds, visit California campgrounds.

Yosemite National Park is a beautiful and exciting place to visit any time of the year. However, the activities and weather that you enjoy most may influence the time of year that you visit the Park. Spring is April and May, and it is the perfect season for waterfalls. Since most of the falls are fueled by snowmelt, they are at their fullest in the spring months, often drying out to mere trickling streams by summer. The weather tends to be warm, although snow is still possible, and parts of the park are still closed off due to snow. Outdoor activities in much of the park are available, although some parts of the park are still snow filled and inaccessible.

Summer begins in June and ends in September where the weather is warm to hot, and tends to be pretty dry, although afternoon thunderstorms do happen. All areas of the park are open and accessible, and outdoor activities range from hiking, rock climbing, water sports and many more. It is also an excellent time for wild flowers.

Fall begins in October and runs through November. This is a nice time to visit because most of the park is still accessible and not very busy. Many of the waterfalls are dry or just a trickle by this time of the year, and while many of the trees are evergreens and don't change colors, some like the big-leaf maple and black oak do and are quite spectacular.

Winter hits in December, bringing with it a season of snow and solitude. Yosemite Valley and Wawona are open year round and accessible by car. However, since Tioga Road usually closes mid-November and doesn’t reopen until the snow recedes, many parts of the park are not accessible in winter. While winter is cold and snowy, there are occasionally warm, sunny days. Water levels are generally low until winter begins to thaw and waterways are filled anew with snowmelt and rainwater. Outdoor activities shift more towards snow skiing, cross country skiing, and ice skating.

There is a $20 entrance fee which is valid for seven days. An annual Yosemite National Park pass costs $40, and the inter-agency pass that gets you into most national parks is $80.

Yosemite National Park has a lot to do and a lot to see. It is best to be able to spend several days in the park so you can explore the many different sides of the Park. One of the most popular areas is the world-renowned Yosemite Valley, which is home to most of the park's waterfalls, many different species of plants and animals, numerous beautiful meadows, and also provides spectacular views of the park and surrounding peaks.

Sentinel Bridge is an excellent vantage point the Half Dome reflecting in the river and Yosemite Falls nearby. Mariposa Grove is another breathtaking part of the park with about 500 mature giant sequoias. These trees are perhaps one of the largest living things on the planet Earth. While some of the oldest living sequoias are easily 3,000 years old, a few are even closer to 4,600 years old! The road is closed to cars November through April, although it is still accessible by a two-mile hike along the road.

To get the best views of the whole park, the place to go is Glacier Point. Glacier Point looks out over the entire Yosemite Park, offering panoramic views of Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls, and Yosemite's high country. This area is accessible by car late May through October or November, depending on snow conditions. A 10.5-mile cross-country ski trail allows skiers to experience this view December through March. Each season has something remarkable to offer, making Yosemite National Park an excellent California camping destination any time of the year.

To locate some Woodall's approved California campgrounds, visit California campgrounds.

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